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Frequently Asked Questions: Species Recovery Grant Proposals and Awards



Complete guidance on applying to this funding opportunity is provided in the annual Federal Funding Opportunity. Please read the FFO in its entirety to ensure your application meets all requirements.

Non-Federal Cost Sharing or Matching

1. How is the non-Federal cost share determined?

The non-Federal cost share is determined as a percent of total project costs. If a single State* is involved, the proposal must include at least 25% non-Federal cost share in accordance with section 6(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). If two or more States are cooperators on a project (see question 2 below), the required non-Federal cost share decreases to 10%.

To calculate the required cost share, first determine the total cost of the project, then multiply the total cost by 25% (if single state) or 10% (if multi-state). For example:

2. How do States qualify for reduced match?

The match required under section 6(d) of the ESA can be reduced to 10% of the total grant costs when two or more state natural resources agencies cooperate on the work being proposed. While States may partner with entities outside of their state, the proposal only qualifies for the reduction in match if the partnering entity is a state natural resource agency (e.g. out-of-state academic institutions do not qualify a proposal for the match reduction).

To qualify, cooperating States must also clearly explain the nature of the collaboration within the body of the project description, outlining the responsibilities and work to be carried out by each of the cooperating States. Applicants may also provide a letter of agreement from cooperating States.

Cooperating States do not necessarily have to cooperate on all aspects of, or equally in, the proposed work. However, there must be meaningful cooperation among the partners on some or all portions of the proposed work (see Question 8 for additional information).

3. Are Territories required to provide match?

Match requirements of section 6(d) of the ESA do not apply to insular areas covered by the Omnibus Insular Areas Act of 1977 (48 U.S.C. 1469a):

Puerto Rico, which is not covered by the Insular Areas Act, must provide matching funds.

4. When must matching funds be provided?

Matching funds must be expended within the grant period. Matching funds are also expected to be paid out at the same general rate as the Federal share. Exceptions to this latter requirement may be granted by a NOAA Grants Officer based on sufficient documentation demonstrating plans for the commitment of cash or in-kind contributions and a justification for the request. In any case, the recipient must meet its cost share commitment over the life of the award.

5. What can be used as non-Federal cost share?

The non-Federal cost share can include cash and in-kind contributions. Cost sharing may be for any costs that are necessary for completion of the work being proposed and that comply with Federal cost principles (e.g., OMB Circular A-87 [pdf]). For example, costs used as match can include un-recovered indirect costs, volunteer services, and donated supplies and property. The source of the cost share, whether cash or in-kind, may be from the particular applicant State agency or from other cooperators on the proposal. Sources and type (cash or in-kind) of the cost share must be identified in the proposal budget and narrative (see sample budget table [pdf] and sample narrative [pdf]).

6. Can projects that have multiple sources of Federal funding use these other sources of funding as part of the non-Federal match?

No. Other sources of Federal funding cannot be included as part of the non-Federal match.

Structuring Proposals

7. How do two or more cooperating States submit an application for a single project?

There are two options. One State may submit an Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424) and the proposal, OR cooperating States may submit the same proposal for the joint project and separate Applications for Federal Assistance (SF-424). In the former case, the lead State agency would provide funding to any cooperating agency through a sub-award that they administer. In the latter case, each applicant agency would submit identical proposals (including title pages, summaries, and project descriptions) and budget information and forms specific to the particular state agency submitting the application. Joint proposals structured in this manner must indicate they are a multi-state proposal and must list the other applicant state agencies on the title page. If selected, cooperating agencies that choose this latter approach would receive their own NOAA award. In both cases, cooperating States should provide documentation regarding responsibilities and work to be carried out by each of the cooperating States (see Question 2).

8. Can States submit more than one proposal per year?

Yes. States can submit multiple proposals per year, including multiple proposals for the same species. Separate proposals, however, should reflect distinct projects and work.

9. Can States submit a single proposal that involves more than one eligible species?

Yes. However, to be competitive, work proposed for the multiple species in such a proposal should be logically connected (e.g., fish passage that will benefit two or more eligible species, bycatch reduction research that will benefit multiple eligible species). If the connection between different species is tenuous, we suggest you submit separate, species-specific proposals.

Allowable Costs and Budget Requirements

10. Can grant funds be used to assist in complying with Federal mitigation requirements contained in a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) or as part of ESA section 10 permit conditions?

No. A proposal cannot include actions required to satisfy a permittee's Federal mitigation requirements. A proposal can, however, include actions that complement required mitigation actions, or assist in conservation obligations pursuant to State law or local ordinance or that are above and beyond the Federal mitigation requirements. Funding can also be used to develop an application for an HCP. For example, funding can support collection and analysis of bycatch data, development of measures to minimize and mitigate the incidental take of listed species, and preparation of the HCP and associated incidental take permit application.

11. Can grant funds be used to help an entity comply with a biological opinion?

No. Federal action agencies and their permittees are responsible for meeting the terms and conditions in biological opinions.

12. Can grant funds be used to assist an entity in complying with other Federal regulations?

No. We do not intend to award funding for projects that serve to satisfy regulatory requirements at the Federal level (e.g., mitigation for Clean Water Act permits).

13. Can Species Recovery Grant monies be applied to projects that have obtained funds through another Federal source?

Yes. Species Recovery Grants may be used to fund distinct aspects of projects that have obtained grant funds from other Federal sources. The specific project objectives and respective funding from each Federal program must be fully described in the proposal. If it is an ongoing project, previous phases of work that the proposed work is contingent upon must already be successfully completed or nearly completed.

14. Can Federal agencies receive funding from this program?

Federal agencies or institutions are not eligible to receive direct Federal assistance through this program. Federal agencies can receive funding as contractors under a grant if they have specific authority to do so. However, it is the policy of the Department of Commerce to encourage grantees to contract with private entities to the degree possible. In addition, Federal grant funding cannot pay Federal employee salaries and cannot pay for travel unless the travel is approved as part of the award agreement. Federal funding can be used to purchase supplies expected to be consumed by a cooperating Federal employee while executing work under the award.

15. Should funding be estimated to the nearest dollar?

Yes. Funding for the project should be estimated to the nearest dollar. Please do not include cents in any final budget numbers on your SF424, SF424A or Budget Table or documents will be returned for revision.

16. Are there samples of budgets and budget narratives that I can look at?

Yes. please see our example Budget Table and Budget Narrative.


17. Can U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed species be included in proposals?

Project proposals may be submitted for species with which NOAA Fisheries (NMFS) shares joint jurisdiction with USFWS (e.g. Atlantic salmon, Gulf sturgeon, sea turtles). Species under the sole jurisdiction of the USFWS are not eligible.

18. Are Tribes eligible to receive funding directly through this grant program?

No. Only State (includes U.S. territories)* agencies that have entered into cooperative agreements with NMFS under section 6(c) of the ESA are eligible to apply to this grant program. However, States may submit proposals involving Tribes, and Tribes can receive funding as a contractor or subgrantee. Direct funding for federally recognized Tribes can come through the Species Recovery Grants to Tribes Program.

19. Can additional project information be submitted to NMFS after the closing date for submission of proposals?

No. With the exclusion of signed letters of support, all information that the applicant would like to have considered must be submitted by the application deadline. Any new or additional information submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

20. Do applicants need to either have or apply for an ESA scientific research permit before applying for a grant?

Yes. Applicants working on endangered species or threatened species for which protective regulations are in place MUST provide their ESA permit number or evidence that they have submitted an ESA permit application to NMFS. More information on whether a permit is required and the permit application process is available on our website.

Data Management and Data Sharing

21. What is the Data Management Guidance for Species Recovery Grant proposal writers?

Data Management Plans should include descriptions of the types of environmental data and information expected to be created during the course of the project; methods for providing data access; the tentative date by which data will be shared; the standards to be used for data/metadata format and content; approximate total volume of data to be collected; and prior experience in making such data accessible. Data Management (or Sharing) Plans are a required element of Species Recovery Grant proposals and should reflect the recommendations as outlined below to the extent appropriate.

Data Accessibility. The NOAA Program recommends that public access to grant/contract-produced data be enabled through one or more of the following means: 

Technical recommendations. Use of open-standard data formats and methods is encouraged. The Species Recovery Grants to States Program is not requiring any specific data format.  Data Management Plans are to describe their proposed approach.

Resources. Proposals are permitted to include the costs of data sharing or archiving in their budgets.

For questions regarding this guidance and for verifying accessibility of data produced by funding recipients, please contact:

Lisa Manning,
Federal Program Officer for Species Recovery Grants Program
NMFS, Office of Protected Resources

22. What is the definition of "Environmental Data"?

Under the NOAA Data Sharing Policy, environmental data are defined as:  recorded and derived observations and measurements of the physical, chemical, biological, geological, and geophysical properties and conditions of the oceans, atmosphere, space environment, sun, and solid earth, as well as correlative data, such as socio‐economic data, related documentation, and metadata. Digital audio or video recordings of environmental phenomena (such as animal sounds or undersea video) are included in this definition. Numerical model outputs are included in this definition, particularly if they are used to support the conclusion of a peer-reviewed publication. Data collected in a laboratory or other controlled environment, such as measurements of animals and chemical processes, are included in this definition.

23. What is meant by "data sharing?"

Data sharing means making data publicly visible and accessible in a timely manner at no cost (or not more than the cost of reproduction), except where limited by law, regulation, policy or by security requirements. NOAA facilities that archive data and make the data openly available should be considered for the disposition of the data.

24. What is considered "timely" data sharing?

"Timely" typically means no later than publication of a peer-reviewed article based on the data, or two years after the data are collected and verified, or two years after the original end date of the grant (not including any extensions or follow-on funding), whichever is soonest, unless a delay has been authorized by the NOAA funding program.

25. Who can I contact if I have more questions about NOAA’s Data Sharing Policy?

If you have additional questions about the NOAA Data Sharing Policy, please email questions to  He will either answer it or forward to someone who can.

26. Who can I contact if I have more questions about how the NOAA Data Sharing Policy relates to my Species Recovery Grant?

Please contact your Federal program officer (


31. What are the new reporting requirements under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA)?

New in fiscal year 2011, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) requires recipients of grants and cooperative agreements to report compensation and sub-award data beginning October 1, 2010. Recipients must register with FFATA Subaward Reporting System (FSRS), then log in to FSRS. The current reporting requirements and information relevant to this program are listed below.

A. Recipients must report the following information related to their sub-awards:

  1. name of the entity receiving the award;
  2. amount of the award;
  3. information on the award including transaction type, funding agency, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number, program source, and award title descriptive of the purpose of each funding action;
  4. location of the entity receiving the award and primary location of performance under the award, including city, State, congressional district, and country;
  5. unique identifier of the entity receiving the award and the parent entity of the recipient, should the entity be owned by another entity;
  6. names and total compensation of the five most highly compensated officers of the entity if the entity in the preceding fiscal year received 80% or more of its annual gross revenues in Federal awards; and $25,000,000 or more in annual gross revenues from Federal awards; and the public does not have access to this information about the compensation of the senior executives of the entity through periodic reports filed under section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. §§ 78m(a), 78o(d)) or section 6104 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. See FFATA § 2(b)(1).

B. Recipients must report sub-award information for new awards obligated on or after October 1, 2010 if the initial award from NMFS is:

  1. equal to or over $25,000
  2. below $25,000 but subsequent grant modifications result in a total award equal to or over $25,000
  3. equal to or greater than $25,000 but funding is subsequently de-obligated such that the total award amount falls below $25,000

C. Recipients must enter their information by the end of the following month when the sub-award was made. For example, if a sub-award was made on December 18, the information must be entered by January 31. For additional information, please visit FSRS Resources.

* "State," as defined under section 3 of the ESA, includes U.S. territories.

Updated: August 8, 2016